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One Day in Bursa, Turkey

Arnie Greenberg

One of the best holidays I ever had was in Turkey. We toured much of the coast as far south as Marmaris before taking a hydrofoil to Rhodes. We saw Troy and Bodrum and all the sights in between including Ephesus, one of the most impressive remnants of an ancient world. We bought carpets, curios and ate some of the best food I’d had in ages. All this was done among friendly, gentle people who treated us with open arms. I loved Turkey, really, and while I spent a week in Istanbul, I’m planning to go back this year. Turkey is one of the great bargains of Europe and Asia.

I even traveled by taxi to the Black Sea, just to revisit my roots. No, I’m not Turkish but my ancestors were from Odessa on the same body of water. It was a thrill being so close. But once we did all the tourist things it was time to head south. We crossed the impressive and modern bridge and entered Asia.

We departed early one morning in a rented car, without air conditioning, and it was hot. The bridge spanning the Bosporus, taking us into Asia, excited us. The road was good and the view of Istanbul from afar was something to remember. The long shadows of early morning added to the mystery of the ancient land.

With stops for picture taking, we arrived before noon. The city was bustling with people, going to the market and by now the sun was imposing a toll I’ll never forget. It was one of those days that you can see the air moving in front of you and the haze eroded our attempt to see the huge mountain of Uludag above the city. There were trucks, pushcarts, and a few donkey carts, but not too many cars. There were certainly no parking spots. Finally, a truck pulled back from a strip mall and we were finally able to leave the car in a shaded corner.

My friend (let’s call him Gerry) wanted to try a ‘Bursa Kabob’. Someone had told him that there was nothing like it. But first we needed a tourist office, a bathroom and a hotel reservation, not necessarily in that order. For me, the bathroom was of premier importance. I need not explain why men of a certain age have that urge so often.

The city is not pretty and the throngs of shoppers looked almost menacing as they walked across the whole street. We did find the tourist office. We fanned out. With crossed legs, I stood at the counter. There was no functioning toilet and the hotel was close-by. But, I explained, our luggage was in the car. When I told the lady where our car was, her countenance change. Fear took over her. She, and a gathering of her colleagues, informed me that I was not allowed to park in that strip-mall as it was zoned ‘commercial’. They were certain to confiscate our car and it would remain impounded for a week. We all raced into the street, running for our car. “But I didn’t get a Bursa-Kabob”! Gerry cried.

 “And I didn’t get a toilet.” Not that I had to explain. They knew.

Just then I spotted a small restaurant on a side street that advertised

Tziss Burgers and Bursa-Kabobs. Halleluiah.  We were saved.  I peeled off to the right, yelling instructions as I darted for the restaurant.  They would get the car. I’d get the illusive kabob.

In the dingy cafeteria, a man stood, wiping his grimy hands on an apron that suffered from lack of soap. I ordered the Bursa Kabobs and raced upstairs where a sign advertised ‘toilet’.  As I reached around the doorframe for a light-switch, I hit my head on the rather low archway, even though I am only five foot eight. The pain caused me to swoon and as I stood there, doing my thing, in the near-dark room, I felt perspiration flowing down my forehead. I reached for wet paper towels to soothe the pain.

Once downstairs, I handed the scruffy-looking man some money. He just nodded and handed me a bag, which he had stapled, shut. I wasn’t about to wait for change. I raced away, one hand still holding my head, the other balancing the package. It was then that I realized I was bleeding. As I rushed towards our car I saw an irate policeman, arguing with my frustrated wife (in two different languages). The policeman fumed as my wife backed away and headed towards me. As I approached the car, Gerry reached out for the package. I fell into my seat as my wife drove nervously and my friend opened his precious package.

The only sound I heard was his exclamation. “Ohh,” he yelled, “I won’t eat this junk!”

  And without even showing me the contents, he threw the package into a nearby dumpster.

Nobody noticed the blood. Nobody noticed my condition. Nobody said a word as we headed for the highway to ancient Troy near Canakkale.

We didn’t see Bursa either. That’s one reason why I want to go back some day…alone.

What’s a Bursa-kabob anyway?

Author note:  This is a TRUE story!

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You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at


Over the past few years, Professor Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the globe including Italy and most of China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters from St.Petersburg to Moscow. 

"He took a group to Greece and another to northern Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico.  His newly found spare time is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders..  "So You Want To Be A Tour Leader." 

Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.  Keep reading his web for travel ideas.  His next novel HELLSTORM'S Folly, will be available this fall. He now lives in British Columbia.

Go to: or contact him directly at

(More about the writer.)


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